MSPs vote in favour of the Scottish Government’s ban on fracking

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 25 October 2017 in News

MSPs voted in favour of amendments by Scottish Labour, the Scottish Greens and Scottish Lib Dems to strengthen the Scottish Government motion

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The Scottish Parliament has voted in favour of the Scottish Government’s ban on fracking in Scotland.

MSPs voted in favour of amendments by Scottish Labour, the Scottish Greens and Scottish Lib Dems to strengthen the Scottish Government motion, with the Conservatives opposed.

Paul Wheelhouse’s motion was passed by 91 to 28 after the SNP accepted amendments by Labour and the Greens to include the ban in future National Planning Frameworks.


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But Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser opposed the move, describing the move by ministers, announced earlier this month, as "an ill-thought out decision which completely disregards scientific evidence".

But although the SNP, Scottish Labour, the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Lib Dems all support a ban on fracking in Scotland, parties have been divided on the best way to do so, with opposition MSPs opposed to ministers plans to enforce the ban through planning powers, rather than in legislation.

More than 60,000 people responded to the Scottish Government’s four month consultation on fracking, with 99 per cent expressing opposition.

Securing the ban in law would stop a future government from overturning it without parliamentary approval.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns Mary Church said the vote “leaves the door open for the Parliament to put the fracking ban into law when licensing powers finally come to Holyrood”.

She said: “Today’s vote ends any hopes the industry had of fracking in Scotland.  This is a huge victory for the anti-fracking movement, particularly for communities on the frontline who have been fighting for a ban these last six years.

“The Scottish Parliament's vote today affirms and strengthens the ban on fracking. The ban will protect Scotland's people and the environment from this dirty industry and boost the global fight against fracking.”

Speaking after the vote, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said: “the Scottish Parliament did the right thing for Scotland and endorsed our position.”

He said: “We undertook one of the most far-reaching examinations of unconventional oil and gas ever carried out by any government and created numerous opportunities throughout the process for discourse and debate. Today’s vote is the culmination of that process, and represents a clear endorsement of our decision.

“In coming to a view on unconventional oil and gas, we carefully considered the findings of our extensive research alongside the results of our public consultation.

“As a Government, and as a Parliament, we have a responsibility to make decisions in the interests of the people whom we represent, confident that the choices we make will not compromise health and safety or damage the environment in which we live, nor undermine our efforts to achieve Scotland’s annual statutory greenhouse gas emissions targets.

“It was clear from the response to our consultation that there is no social licence for unconventional oil and gas to be taken forward at this time, and the research we have conducted did not provide a strong enough basis from which to address those communities’ concerns.”

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